“Well”, says Femina with a dismissive gesture, “the boss is just the hook to hang the hat on for all the other things that cause my heartburn. I don’t know if he really is the worst.” She quickly takes account of various colleagues. “Indeed, the boss is reactionary, intelligent and therefore dangerous, but the subordinates are ignorant, undiscerning, and even dumb, and therefore not less dangerous. The dog bites its tail. The system is so perfect, ‘thumbscrews’!- In fact, I should not be angry, not with anyone. I am the one who does not fit in.” She falls into silence.
“I think, I have become unsociable and a cynic. ….. just listening to what some have to say, their commentary, all their narrow-mindedness, showing their true color…….”, she shakes her head, “then only my arrogance and self-preservation keep me cool.”
“You take everything far too seriously”, replies Tina, “you fret. Absolutely unnecessary! You know that, don’t you?”
Femina purses her lips, nods in agreement. Of course her friend is right. What does she expect! Love? From a disabled society, incapable of love that is? To wrong others is a cherished pastime. What does she want from a society that does not know human dignity only human material? It makes her cringe because that’s how you deform the human soul. But she keeps still fighting it.
“Oh Tina”, she says, “it is just so good that you have come. Tell me, don’t you have problems that ruin your mood?”
Tina rolls her eyes. “Just as! More than enough! But being my own boss saves me from some. The problems I have are mostly concerning my little one and sure make me quite sick. Imagine, recently I had a visit from the Children Protection Service because the child apparently is raised in an immoral environment!!!!!”
For clarification, Tina does not live in the same state than Femina. The state Tina resides in is well known to be far more advanced, technologically as well as general living standards are concerned, but that nation is famous for its strict work ethics too and even more so for its old fashioned morals. In fact they are pedestrian if not prudish. They believe, diligence only comes from order, - their order and according their views of course.
“Incredible”, replies Femina promptly
“Trust me, it’s no joke! My ex’s parents want custody, and he of course is happy with that, just to give me a hard time. He cannot forgive me that I left him, and resents even more that it was, as he believes, for a woman.”
“I never understood what attracted you to this macho. Relationships with guys other than us never succeed! And then having a child as well!”
“Odd, isn’t it, nowadays I don’t understand it either. But then I really believed it was possible.”
“Well, what’s the story now?” Femina wants to know
“Ah, it’s okay. I have a lawyer who deals with it and seems to know her stuff. The worst thing that could happen is that I just have to leave the country. Of course they never get my sweetheart. Never! They would have to fight a lion.”
“Why do they want me anyway?” the little one inquires. “I would not leave you”.
Tina smiles. “I know my precious”.
“They want you because you are precious,” states Femina, “but they would not watch out for you as your mum does. They would watch over you as their possession, stamp you without even asking if you like it”.
The little one looks at her in horror.
“Don’t frighten her”, says Tina
“Is that what I do?” asks Femina, “but isn’t true? Truth can be frightening at times”
“Gravity of life will catch up soon enough! I want her to be carefree as long as possible. I want her to be happy.”
“But Tina”, responds Femina,” why should a happy child be prevented from thinking?”
“Well, then maybe I don’t want her to foster ill feelings or incite prejudice.”
Femina looks at her friend with small eyes and sneers: “Don’t tell me you prefer her to be confronted by truth without warning?”
“Well then,’ Warning of Evil’? Is that it?” Tina hesitates.
“Whatever you prefer! However, I am not her mother. It is indeed you who is responsible for her upbringing. But I insist that you leave me the freedom to express my opinion. Discussion should be permitted, or shouldn’t it?”
Tina smiles again and pulls a face, admitting that raising a child leaves the question if that what one does is the right thing to do.
“Do they really put stamps on me? Where? On my skin?” The little one’s thoughts obviously got stuck on pain.
“You see, you did make her afraid!” Tina rebukes.
“I am not afraid” claims the little one. “I would scratch and bite and kick them and you would help me, wouldn’t you?”
“Of course!” assure both women in unison, laughing relieved.
Tina explains her daughter now all the ins and outs with all she needs and wants to know. Children are so keen to learn and the “Why” is an all important question.
Time is running quickly. Femina glances at the clock which is small indeed and stands lonely in an empty corner of its shelf. There is still time to carry on, but it is also time to think of going to bed if she wants to be reasonably fit for work tomorrow.
“They try to change you into a machine. You better forget about your own life, and to have a different sleep-wake cycle than what they insist is normal is not far off to be considered a crime. For sure, nobody would accommodate it. After all, -somebody who finds life to be fun raises suspicion. This privilege have only these who have earned it through work, though they usually are too tired for it or have no time left to enjoy it. Only the ones who have money, inherited or by winning it, they are the lucky ones. Everybody else gets a bad consciousness just about by thinking about a possible fortunate life, because one can only be happy when one is dead. That’s where paradise awaits you. Of course that has to be earned just the same. They are crazy, Tina, absolutely crazy!”
“It is the norm that determines what is crazy or normal”, comments Tina dryly.
Ah, that is so typical of Tina! What can she add to that! But she does not want to let go so easily. “And what is with love? Love! You hear so much about it, but……; that’s it, you h e a r about it but I wonder if it actually exists. May be it is just an abstract word that someone has whispered into a dream.”
“Oh dear”, says Tina solemnly, “you really are down! But may I remind you of the surf you love so much. You let yourself fall in and now you are in, getting tumbled around and the water is bitter. However, bitterness is only one of the sensations. Hopefully, you have not forgotten.”
Femina shakes her head in agreement: “I just have got too big a dose of it.”
That makes Tina smile again and she reiterates confirmatively that Femina’s departure is absolutely urgent and compelling. She understands too well and agrees with her friend undoubtedly. Her own surgery is full of suffering people and, so are the hospitals as Femina can confirm, who is a “health apostle” by profession. The two exchange their opinions and experiences for a while, discuss some of the things that go from specific events to the more general, concluding that despite being very obvious, the unity of body and mind, or if you like soul, has not been widely, if at all, found recognition in their professional fields of health. Souls have their place in church and bodies can be repaired. Psychohygiene? Who could be bothered! For most, dental hygiene is already too much. Femina believes that the lack of responsibility towards self leads to a lack of responsibility against all and everything. It is so convenient to delegate responsibility. Well, so be it! It creates jobs, isn’t it! Therefore the psychotherapist may go to search for the soul, while the medic can carry on plumbing; - both of course are not permitted to scratch at the surface of the system. Because politics are the expertise of politicians, and they know what is good for the people. Tina grins: “They sure know what is serving themselves.”
Femina lights up another cigarette and fills a new cup of tea. Anger has dissipated, leaving her with soothing emptiness. The little one has fallen asleep after all. For the night it is half-time. It reminds her that she has to get up early in the morning but she resigns. Bugger it! Uninteresting work does not become more interesting because one is rested. It just makes it more bearable. She will deal with it.
“Ah, I am so pleased that you let me grumble and not interrupting me with stupid objections!”
“Oh, I would have lots of objections”, says Tina, “but there is no point with you. You know them as good as you know the answers. So, change of subject, let’s talk about what you have in mind.”
For a moment Femina looks perplexed as if she did not catch the question.
“Do you have plans? Do you have something specific in mind that you want to do?” repeats Tina.
Femina clears her throat while she searches for a clear answer. It is not that simple, because the many things she intends to do are not the specific thing she definitely will do. She burst into laughter and looks at her friend suggestively. Tina gets it, she knows Femina too well.
“I regret not to be able to come with you”, Tina continues. “It would be so good, we three, somewhere on an empty beach under coconut trees and nothing but sun and sea”. She closes her eyes for a moment, just long enough to fly in her mind to one of the beautiful South Sea Islands she can think of. With a sigh she opens the eyes again: “I am so hung up on my wish to give my girl the opportunity to learn what civilization has to offer.” Her voice is hesitant, because she knows too well, that knowledge is not just obtainable by studies, but also by experience.
However, Femina agrees. The little one should train her mind and Tina will surely take care, that the essential does not get lost.
But what is the essential???? It differs from one to the other. Every culture has its own traditions, every religion its own believes.
It is time to look at the two women’s background, providing an understanding and explanation for their kinship and natural ability to fundamentally agree on principles despite differing views and profoundly different personalities.
They are Sozieternas.